A great talk about the underdog from Malcolm Gladwell.
A great talk about the underdog from Malcolm Gladwell.
Here’s some great practical tips, tricks and thoughtful insights for your Thursday. Enjoy!
1. Adam McLane’s got a great post on starting a blog: Blogging 101: 5 Things to Do Before You Start a Blog
2. Lifehacker’s got the top 10 Infographic’s of the year to make your life easier. They’ve got anything from keyboard shortcuts to what to do when you’re pulled over. It’s all handy stuff
3. You’ll thank me someday for this: How to Open a Can Without a Can Opener
When I received this DVD curriculum to review, I was initially excited. That eagerness grew as I began to read over on the materials. Painting the Stars is, “celebrating the communion of science and faith… exploring the promise of evolutionary Christian spirituality.” These were big claims on the outside; akin to Babe Ruth pointing his bat towards the outfield and calling out his impending home run. Only this time he calls his shot, but then hits a single. The claims don’t live up to the outcome and it’s a bit of a letdown.
There are lots of great ideas happening here and that’s the problem… it just lots of random disconnected opinions and ideas. I don’t doubt the passion and wisdom of the presenters, but there’s no real narrative voice to the material aside from the thought that we can reconcile both Christian spirituality and the ideas of evolution. There are lots of big questions, passionate scientists and witty quotes from famous people – it’s all appetizers and no main course. I was left wanting more. Hungry for more.
Now you may scoff at me for picking at their grand question asking. If you read this blog you know I love big questions. But in this case, the questions lead us no where. They are just a wild chase of more questions and random thoughts. In the pursuit of tackling a broad topic, they just continued to go even broader. I was expecting it to narrow like a funnel and it did quite the opposite, it got wider and wider.
Like I said before, I love good questions… but this DVD was made to be the core material for facilitating small group discussions. Frankly, I don’t see this doing more than leading to broad topics that never really go anywhere. This doesn’t dig deep into the life-changing soil of the topics of spirituality and evolution… it’s more just fodder to fuel intelligent sounding prattle at cocktail parties.
About the DVD:
Living the Questions is not the product of a denominational workgroup or other institutional effort aimed at simply dressing up the theological status quo. Instead, it is the response to the search for a practical tool to bring together, equip, and re-educate thinking Christians. What started out as just a single DVD series is now a growing catalog of curriculum with over a dozen titles in use by nearly 6000 churches and other groups across the US, Canada, the UK, Australia and New Zealand. Living the Questions Churches utilize LtQ resources for spiritual formation in a variety of ways: adult studies, retreats, new member orientations, etc.
Here is a great talk from Jeff Shinabarger at TEDxPeachtree on living generously. There is a power to giving without expecting anything in return. When we speak of generosity, I don’t mean necessarily mean the buying of gifts. Picture the excesses of Black Friday looming in the distance. Is that generosity? Hardly. It’s consumerism hidden under wrapping paper. The holiday seasons has become more and more about excess. Generosity speaks towards something very different.
You see, living generously is not a one time event, it’s s a posture; a way of life exemplified by acts of love and compassion. It’s about of the giving of one’s self, and not necessarily about the buying of gifts (or the money associated with buying those gifts). Generosity is always about giving of yourself. What that looks like in practice can take different forms. For some, it may be about giving money, but others, it is about giving of time, help or expertise.
It starts as simply as becoming more present and aware of your neighborhood or community. As you begin to walk through this week, keep your eyes opened and ask yourself, ”what are the needs of people community and how can I help?” Generosity happens when you begin to step forward help others. It’s a simple of a concept, yet requires you to step out of your comfort zone and do something. Life always gets interesting outside of your comfort zone – you never know what can happen there.
There is a Nigerian saying, “it is the heart that does the giving; the fingers only let go.” Let us become a people who learn to let go well and live generously.
For more on Jeff’s organization Gift Card Giver: http://www.giftcardgiver.com
I often review books, but it’s not very often that I find ones that impact me quite the way that Soil and Sacrament has done. Through my journey, there have been those key writings that have come into my life at just the right time and helped to guide me to the next step in my path. This is one of those seminal books.
Soil and Sacrament is a travelogue chronicling the spiritual journey of Fred Bahnson as he sought to experience a deeper communion with God while exploring the connections between food, people and the earth. Bahnson’s writing style is honest and in the vein of Anne Lamott. There is a simple saying in the text that epitomizes the desire of Fred’s journey and it was the prayer of the early Christian monks: “We beg you, make us truly alive.” Soil and Sacrament digs deep into the soil of life and discovers that God desires for us to find Him in the midst of community and our humanity truly comes alive as we explore our connection to the earth. This is truly a great book and I highly recommend it.
Here’s is the TED talk with Fred sharing about his journey.
About the Author:
Fred Bahnson’s website
‘Soil and Sacrament’ – TEDx Mahattan talk
Fred Bahnson interviews in Image Journal
What grows in a garden? Fred Bahnson in The Washington Post
Soil and Sacrament on Amazon: http://amzn.to/13G96jR
I received a copy of The Mantis and the Moon by indie-folk singer-songwriter Chris Slaten (aka Son of Laughter) the other day and I’ve taken sometime to properly digest it.
The Mantis and the Moon is a five-song EP produced by Ben Shive (whose production credits include Andrew Peterson, Sara Groves, Melanie Penn, and Bebo Norman). Four years in the making, this EP contains the seeds of The collaboration began in 2009, taking over four years to make a five song EP. The next songs have been written and are being performed on tour, with a planned follow-up recording funded by sales of Mantis.
Slaten’s lyrical style is reminiscent of Paul Simon and I really enjoyed the laid-back album. This hidden gem is easy listening for sure. Here’s a taste:
Right now, Slaten is booking a series of small shows that look like anything from playing in the living rooms (I’m not kidding) to larger venues. Currently he’s lining up dates and places for his 2014. If you’re interested, inquire by e-mailing him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Who knew that all you needed to do was add some Volvo’s to a Van Damme to create something truly bizarre and completely epic all at the same time. The Enya part just puts me over the top. Not sure it makes me want to buy a Volvo, but this was pretty amazing.
With the gauntlet being thrown down, it’s now time for me to get my kids practicing this between two mini vans… I’ll keep you posted on our progress.
UPDATE: Check out Channing Tatum’s spoof of the Epic Split
Remember, remember the 5th of November…
Anyone else celebrating Guy Fawkes Day (or night)? Don’t let the Brit’s have all the fun. I know there’s a big shindig nearby in Raleigh going on (http://guyfawkesraleigh.com/). We’re doing our own family party because any excuse for a party is always a good excuse for a party. Fireworks are always fun, but I’m thinking the kiddos are too young for V is for Vendetta this year.
Feeling left out on all the Fawkes fun? Catch up here for the backstory.
If you’d like your very own Guy Fawkes printable mask to pass the work day by… click here. It’s always a good thing to add a mix of anarchy to the cubicle work day. Enjoy!
My dear sweet, Osteen, someone needs to give you a clue or at least direct you towards UrbanDictonary.com. Your naiveté is absolutely adorable. It’s like you’re a cuddly, aw-shucks, puppy dog version of Joe Biden. No scratch that, you’re simply Kenneth Parcell (Jack McBrayer), from 30 Rock with a pulpit. Keep that wide-eyed, 1950′s innocent outlook as long as you can buddy.
As long as you haven’t been living under a rock for the past few weeks, you’ve probably heard the song “What Does the Fox Say?”And if you are one of those rock dwellers, see the above video to catch up. It’s an absolute absurdist joke of a song/video by Norwegian duo Ylvis that’s meant to be one. The real joke happened when it became an international phenomena.
Through the narrative of the song, we are taken through the known sounds of different animals (the cow goes moo… etc). One mystery remains… we don’t know what the fox says. Our vocal sherpa then takes us into the mysterious unknown. The journey goes through many different nonsensical attempts to figure out what the fox actually says. Yet in the end… some things are simply a mystery. Sometimes the questions in life are more important than the answers.
I think this speaks to a deeper theological narrative that we encounter when we encounter God. What Ylvis is teaching us here is that there’s a beauty to mystery and those things we experience, yet can’t quite grasp. You may hear the fox one way, while I hear it another. Is either right or wrong? No and that’s exactly the point. When you look across the Christian landscape, there are many different songs being sung in different styles and tempos. It’s easy to assume yours trumps the others or that your song is right while the others are wrong.
So next time when you’re tempted with the familiar denominational/group/tribal urge to think your brand is better than another brand. Just remember we’re all experiencing the same God in different ways. Some of this is due to diverse backgrounds, geographies, socio-economics, cultures and/or simply different vantage points. Let’s respect one another and realize that there’s beauty to the mystery. There’s a beauty to the song passionately sung in different voices and tunes. When you feel that urge to judge or be self-righteous… simply as yourself, “What Does the Fox Say?” If anything, you’ll be magically carried to a whimsical place where it’s hard to be serious. In that place, it’s easy to laugh at yourself in the process – and that’s healthy.
Embrace the mystery and diversity we all share. Learn to laugh and resist the urge to kill what little shalom* we have in this world for the sake of feeling ‘correct.’ Grab on to that frailty of this thing we call life, and simply smile while you walk down the street today and hum this tune – you never know what you’ll experience once you drop the weight of assuming your always right.
* shalom – the state of peace or well-being, of living in harmony with one’s community and the with the earth.